Paint first or Motor first - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old Oct 21st, 19, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Paint first or Motor first

Looking for some opinions here. My last car I did bodywork, then drivetrain, then paint but I am wondering what the best way to do it this time:

Bodywork is pretty much done. I would finish the rolling chassis and have the guys do the bodywork and paint before the motor - Advantages are that they could do the firewall and not have to worry about getting around the motor when stripping and painting.

Paint after the drivetrain install - Advantages is that I run less risk of scratching the pretty new paint while I install the drivetrain.

What have you guys found to be the best order?

Thanks,

Bill
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old Oct 21st, 19, 05:59 PM
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Re: Paint first or Motor first

I would do all the body work and then fully assemble the car. Shake it down from there. Once you have it dialed in, blow it apart and paint it. Not sure what kind of project you have or how your planning on painting it (apart or together).

When you do it this way, you know everything works when you finally put it all back together. Shouldnít be any surprises. Scratches can happen at any point but it always seems to happen when your pulling stuff apart after the car is done.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old Oct 21st, 19, 06:27 PM
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Re: Paint first or Motor first

I did as Garth described. Chassis was done including brakes and lines. Fuel tank and
lines. All sheet metal fit and dialed in. Then blown apart and painted. I was just damn
careful installing the engine and trans. I did it alone so I didn't have to be concerned
with some else accidentally screwing up. The only help I had was with installing the hood.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old Oct 21st, 19, 07:57 PM
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Re: Paint first or Motor first

I pretty much did the frame chassis, fire wall everything underneath, inside of the NOS front sheet metal and rear quarters, dropped the drive train in and sent it off to paint jail for 13 months.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old Oct 21st, 19, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Paint first or Motor first

Quote:
Originally Posted by scblucam View Post
I pretty much did the frame chassis, fire wall everything underneath, inside of the NOS front sheet metal and rear quarters, dropped the drive train in and sent it off to paint jail for 13 months.
13 months? Holy crap!

I will end up doing as before - drivetrain, cooling and electricals then send it for paint. I'm just excited to finally find someone in Phoenix who I trust to do the paint! Yay!
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 19, 07:28 AM
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Re: Paint first or Motor first

Quote:
13 months? Holy crap!
Yep I asked Henry how long it would take. "Three Weeks". Of course fatal last words, "Take your time". Worked out because I had bought a house just prior to it being ready. Otherwise it would have resided in my Mother's carport for awhile.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 19, 08:36 AM
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Re: Paint first or Motor first

Personally I'd rather do paint first. That way you don't have them starting your new, maybe broken in, engine to move it around etc. "Hey Joe, this one sounds great. Watch this!"
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 19, 10:18 AM
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Re: Paint first or Motor first

I'm a rookie but when I did my 69 I put the drivetrain in once the metal work was complete and then moved on to body work. I removed the doors, fenders, hood & trunk & jammed everything out then re-assembled and put it in the booth. We masked off the jammed out work and then painted.
What I don't like about this it that you can see the transition in the door jams and other areas if you look carefully. I'm building a 68 Chevelle now and I'm going to do all the body work, blow it apart and paint/clear and then re-assemble and put the drivetrain in last. I think everything stays clean this way especially under hood. It just introduces risk that you damage the paint on something when assembling. That and you need to be sure to paint everything at the same time and how the pieces will sit when done - do not paint a door laying flat or the metallic will lay down differently than the rest of the car and not match.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 19, 11:56 AM
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Re: Paint first or Motor first

Interesting question. If there was some way to prevent the final paint from being scratched, the question would never be asked. Unfortunately, I donít know of any way to guarantee this catastrophe would not happen if you move big heavy sharp objects near the paint.

You mentioned the body has been test fitted and it is correct. Did you test fit everything? I experienced that my stainless trim on the back corner next to the trunk lid did not fit my new quarter panel. I had to reshape the curve on the quarter panel. The little vent in the door jamb would not fit in the quarter panel. I drilled holes in my driver side fender for the emblems. I had to weld my first holes shut and start again. My reproduction bumper was bent and would have scratched my quarter panel if I did not test fit it before final paint. My door handles would not fit. It would have been detrimental if I started installing these items after final paint.

Was your car sandblasted? Sand can hide in the smallest places. Your paint gun will blow the sand out its hiding places onto your wet paint. Are all the joints seam sealed? My point is there could be a lot more work to be done before paint.

The engine and transmission that is going into the car the same as the ones that came out? If they are different, I would test fit before painting the firewall. The engine includes the headers, front accessories, distributor, valve covers. Test fit the wiper motor. Something might not fit and hit the shiny paint.

Are you adding anything new under the dash? I am adding an AC unit. I will have to drill holes in the firewall area for the hoses.
If your car has a lot of reproduction parts or is modified, then test fit the parts before final paint.

If your car is stock, stab the engine and transmission in the car after paint.

Patrick
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 19, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Paint first or Motor first

Quote:
Originally Posted by tp_smith View Post
Interesting question. If there was some way to prevent the final paint from being scratched, the question would never be asked. Unfortunately, I donít know of any way to guarantee this catastrophe would not happen if you move big heavy sharp objects near the paint.

You mentioned the body has been test fitted and it is correct. Did you test fit everything? I experienced that my stainless trim on the back corner next to the trunk lid did not fit my new quarter panel. I had to reshape the curve on the quarter panel. The little vent in the door jamb would not fit in the quarter panel. I drilled holes in my driver side fender for the emblems. I had to weld my first holes shut and start again. My reproduction bumper was bent and would have scratched my quarter panel if I did not test fit it before final paint. My door handles would not fit. It would have been detrimental if I started installing these items after final paint.

Was your car sandblasted? Sand can hide in the smallest places. Your paint gun will blow the sand out its hiding places onto your wet paint. Are all the joints seam sealed? My point is there could be a lot more work to be done before paint.

The engine and transmission that is going into the car the same as the ones that came out? If they are different, I would test fit before painting the firewall. The engine includes the headers, front accessories, distributor, valve covers. Test fit the wiper motor. Something might not fit and hit the shiny paint.

Are you adding anything new under the dash? I am adding an AC unit. I will have to drill holes in the firewall area for the hoses.
If your car has a lot of reproduction parts or is modified, then test fit the parts before final paint.

If your car is stock, stab the engine and transmission in the car after paint.
Great response! I am doing an LS/6-speed conversion with Vintage Air so there are a lot of potential gotchyas to be fitted before hand.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 19, 03:05 PM
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Re: Paint first or Motor first

mock up first, disassemble, then paint IMHO. Pretty much what you see on the high $ builds of "pick a TV build a hot rod show"
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 19, 03:17 PM
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Re: Paint first or Motor first

I've done it both ways. With an LS swap I would drop in the engine, tranny and the engine side of the Vintage Air. Make sure it's all fitted the way I want. Tunnel mods and any other welding complete. Then I'd pull the engine and take it for final body and paint.

It's really easy to drop in a motor after paint. It's done all the time.

You could also install the engine after paint before you put the front clip on. It's good way to go.

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 19, 07:16 PM
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Re: Paint first or Motor first

Paint the shell from the firewall back with the doors and trunk on keeps the paint consistent. Then the front clip. 3 to 5 days later wet sand and buff. Mask areas as to not damage while assembly. Complete the drivetrain and install, then the front clip. Interior next then the trim. Done this method on the last dozen cars or more over 2 many years!
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 19, 09:43 PM
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Re: Paint first or Motor first

I went with cleaning up the engine bay, installing drive train and body work then paint. But not for the paint scratch protection though that will always be a concern. This gave me an alternate vehicle to drive if my every day went down. I've found that most shops be it paint, transmission, brake or tire shops don't want the liability of letting a careless employee near a classic. Each one I've taken the car to was driven by the manager or one of the top employees accustomed to a modified vehicle.

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